Trib Sunshine Week 2018 editorial: Shedding light on public’s business our mission
Today, the Tribune-Review and the Valley News Dispatch join in kicking off the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s Sunshine Week to showcase the importance of the media’s watchdog role on behalf of the public’s right to know and the indispensability of the First Amendment and public-access laws.
Government transparency, accountability and proper procedure benefit all citizens, helping them hold public officials accountable. And with all the talk of “fake news” lately, doing so is even more critical.
But rest assured, there’s nothing “fake” about reporting apparent violations of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act in news stories and decrying them in opinion pieces. We’ve done that regarding such improprieties as “hire first, vote later” practices and perfunctory public votes on decisions improperly made behind closed doors by such bodies as Allegheny County Council and New Kensington Council.
Nor is there anything “fake” about using Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law to pressure officials for information they hide from public view, as we’ve done regarding the Pittsburgh region’s Amazon HQ2 bid, Allegheny County Airport Authority subsidies to airlines and other matters — while criticizing such secrecy where criticism obviously is due.
Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis called sunlight “the best of disinfectants.” We’re determined to shed light on the public’s business — your business — not just during Sunshine Week, but every time the sun rises.